Jeju island 2D cafe: Jeju Greem Cafe

Have you heard “Take on Me” by A-ha?

It has one of the catchiest riffs in pop music and an insanely original music video for being made in 1984 (as old as me(+1), which by the way is NOT old, I’m maturing nicely 😛

The thing that made this video extra special and very ahead of its time is the fact that it was a mix of 3D (true, RGB color) and 2D (greyscale, binary, “flat”) styles in a single video. It took over 10,000 hand drawings to create a romantic story between the lead singer and a girl in a cafe and almost didn’t make it as a “hit,” only becoming popular after it’s 4th release and the well-known video we love today. Check it out below!

36 years later, this song is still popular today with covers by school bands, having been played in popular movies and shows, sampled in songs, and was even declared Hollywood’s “Song of the Year” in 2018 by Quartz. The pencil-sketch monochrome design (featured in the video) is making its presence known here in Asia too, with Instagram recently exploding with cartoon-world-type interiors of cafes created by the Greem Group (Greem in Korean means painting or cartoon).  Created by founder and owner Eun-Jin Lee, decked out like pen-drawn cartoons, these cafes blend reality and illusion together seamlessly—with white interiors creating a stark contrast with real and faux elements outlined in black.

“To Eun-Jin Lee, creating these black-and-white cartoon effect isn’t so much about generating more “likes,” but about removing the distraction of colors and noise from the space. Wanting to put the focus back to the things that matter—people and popular drinks such as chocolate and green tea lattes—Eun-Jin chose to make the remaining elements as “simple and colorless” as possible.” Forbes.

In South Korea, we’re lucky to have Greem Cafes in Seoul as well as on Jeju Island. After seeing other customers post their unique images on Instagram, I too wanted to create my own ‘Morten and Bunty’ moment with my husband. So the stars aligned when we saw Jeju Greem Cafe advertisements on the airplane’s magazine and with seven vacation days on this beautiful island, we just had to find it. As luck would have it, the cafe ended up being within 10 driving minutes distance from where we were staying. Score!

Jeju Greem Cafe is located on the fourth floor of the Jeju Aerospace Museum, you can take the elevator to reach the cafe and don’t have to purchase a museum ticket. Double score! We visited it on a Wednesday and due to COVID timing, there were just two other customers there. In half an hour they were gone and we had the ENTIRE cafe to ourselves! Tripple Score!

The prices in Jeju are definitely higher than those on the mainland, it is a vacation destination after all and is also known as “Hawaii of Korea.” Some of you may snicker at that, but my husband who lived in Hawaii for a year before meeting me and having been a Montanan since High School believes that if locations could “do it,” then Jeju island would be the offspring of Hawaii and Montana. It makes me so happy, because I love Jeju too, from moss forests, volcano craters to seaside cliffs, wild horses, mountain peaks of Halla and 2 for 1 Tiramisu!

 "Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." -- Mary Lou Cook

Jeju Greem Cafe is located across the street from Jeju Tea Museum and fields, so the view from this cafe is top-notch!

“2D is “flat”, using the horizontal and vertical (X and Y) dimensions, the image has only two dimensions and if turned to the side becomes a line. 3D adds the depth (Z) dimension. This third dimension allows for rotation and visualization from multiple perspectives.” Wikipedia

Jeju Greem Cafe

Address: 4F, 218 Nokchabunjae-ro, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si

(+82) 064-794-9224


Seoul’s Greem Cafe

Address: Seoul, Mapo-gu, Yeonnam-dong, Seongmisan-ro, 161-10 Cafe 1.5 floor

Phone: 010-2612-8013


Oh snap! You’ve read to the very end. Let me reward you by providing links to the Making of “Take on Me” song and it’s final music video (yup, there was more than one!) Aren’t you curious about what the hunky Morten and sweet Bunty look like now?

part 1

part 2

part 3

If you’re visiting Jeju Island, here are a few noteworthy and blog-worthy places that I really recommend:

  1. Udo Island

  2. Hello Kitty Museum

  3. Jeju Olle 14-1

  4. Jeju Tangerine Picking Experience (check it out in next week’s post)

If you’re looking for a place to stay/something to do, then look no further. I’ve had a great experience with Airbnb since 2014 and also highly recommend this platform (I’m an affiliate, so if you reserve a place or experience through my link, I get a small commission, at no cost to you. Thanks for your support!)

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